Tso Moriri in Ladakh: A sacred gift for a living planet

Tso Moriri in Ladakh
Tso Moriri in Ladakh

Ladakh’s lakes should figure among the world’s must-see natural wonders. They stun you out of your senses. Tso Moriri is an unending expanse of sheer azure. You can sit and stare at its blue waters and the peaks all around for hours on end.

Sitting pretty at 15,100 feet, it is 25 km long, 5-7 km wide and 40 m at its deepest. Originally a glacial lake, it had outlets to Sutlej river. Now it’s a huge enclosed basin fed by three streams. In the desert-like climate, due to surface evaporation, what was a freshwater lake first turned brackish and finally saline.

If you have the patience, you can spot rare animal/bird species here. In fact, over 150 bird species are found in the region. It’s an important breeding ground for the endangered bar-headed goose and black-necked crane.

I camped by the lake at Korzok, the only village here inhabited by Changpas. Korzok has a 400-year-old monastery, built on a gentle slope unlike most gompas that are perched atop high hills. Local Buddhists revere this wetland as sacred and don’t use or pollute its water. At the WWF Annual Conference in 2000 in Nepal, Tso Moriri was declared a ‘sacred gift for a living planet’ by the local community.

Read many more such features in Ajay Jain’s pictorial travelogue, Postcards from Ladakh.



  1. Hey Ajay,

    Totally agree on the Tso Moriri experience!

    Sitting by the lake for a few hours was by far one of the most beautiful experiences that I have had in my life.

    And the locals at Korzok are just so so sweet and amazing. I almost wanted to stay there forever.

  2. Good write up Ajay!

    Me & my friend have been planning a road trip to Ladakh (from Delhi / shimla) for quite some time.

    May be in 2011. Do share some tips on place to visit en route.

  3. Hi Ajay, highly impressed with your experience.rnWe are planning manali-leh -srinagar trip this july. Family trip diff age members. Pl guide where we can have a comfortable stay en route to leh. I have already stayed in Jispa once, so if possible will like to stay at some different place.rnDr Rajesh

  4. Hi Rajesh,

    The only other place to stay en-route is Sarchu – but I am not a fan of the camps there. Both in terms of facilities and the high altitude weather conditions there. Guess not too many options.

    Look forward to seeing you on Kunzum more often.



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